Documentary linguistics II

Spring term 2017
Monday, 13:30-15:00, Room 313a Collegium Novum B
30 contact hours
Lecturers: Katarzyna Klessa and Nicole Nau

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Course description:

This is the second part of a lecture that introduces students to basic tasks and methods of contemporary documentary linguistics and let them acquire the skills necessary to participate in documentation projects. The focus is on lesser used and endangered languages, but general principles will also be applied to other languages such as Polish. This second semester is concerned with storing, managing and using data in language archives. In particular, students will:

  • understand how language archives are set up and maintained,
  • understand the role of non-linguistic data in language documentations,
  • learn more about techniques of data management and how to apply them,
  • build a small corpus with data from a language documentation or gathered from Internet resources,
  • learn about differences and parallels between corpus linguistics and language documentation,
  • learn about different uses of language documentations, for example, in language revitalization, in lexicography or development of teaching materials.

Assessment and grading:
Student’s activity in class = 10%,
one assessment tasks (individual or group project)= 40%,
final exam = 50%

Work load:
30 contact hours (15 classes)
20 hours preparatory reading
60 hours exercises, assessment task and report
30 hours revision and study for the final exam

Course plan
20.02. Introduction
27.02.-20.03. (4 lectures): Archiving
27.03.-15.05. (6-7 lectures): Corpora and databases
22.05., 29.05./05.06. (2-3 lectures): Applications
12.06. Summary

Bibliography (detailed recommendation for reading will be given in class)

  • Austin, Peter K. & Sallabank, Julia, eds. 2011. Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Drude, Sebastian & Trilsbeek, Paul & Broeder, Daan. 2012. Language documentation and digital humanities: The (DoBeS) language archive. Conference abstract, Digital Humanities 2012, Hamburg.
  • Gippert, Jost &Himmelmann, Nikolaus & Mosel, Ulrike, eds. 2006. Essentials of language documentation. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Haig, Geoffrey L. J. & Nau, Nicole & Schnell, Stefan & Wegener, Clauda, eds. 2011. Documenting endangered languages. Achievements and perspectives. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.
  • Ostler, Nicholas. 2009. Corpora of less studied languages. Corpus Linguistics: An International Handbook, ed. by Anke Lüdeling and Merja Kytö, 457-483. Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter.
  • Seifart, Frank et al., eds. 2012. Potentials of language documentation: methods, analyses, and utilization. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Available online at:

Selected online resources